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Need to be heard? Change the channel like Malcolm Jenkins

When Philadelphia Eagle’s safety, Malcolm Jenkins, was interviewed regarding the fact that the Super Bowl Champs had been dis-invited to the White House, he didn’t need to say a word.  In fact, he didn’t.

He stood silently, surrounded by reporters, simply holding up white poster board with messages written in a plain black marker.  Among the sentiments on some of the cards are:

  • “You aren’t listening”
  • “More than 60% of people in prison are people of color”
  • “Any given night 500,000 sit in jail. Convicted? No. Too Poor? Yes #EndCashBail”
  • “Colin Kaepernick gave $1 million to charity”
  • “in 2018 439 people shot and killed by police (thus far)”

For all that has been said, written and misunderstood about what it means when a player takes a knee to make a statement about racial and social injustice in this country – I was struck by how simple and poignant Jenkins’ approach was to getting his point across.  He took all the noise out of the communication, stood clear and strong, and shared what he wanted us to pay attention to in an unorthodox way.

It re-enforced to me the importance of being hyper aware of when the way you are communicating is not working.  And rather than continuing to dig in deeper and do it the same way only louder – pause – and take a very different approach.  Change it up.  Reflect and recognize that to get people’s attention on matters big and small, you need to be strategic, committed and clear.

Thanks Mr. Jenkins for the lesson.  You got my attention.